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Of Gooses and Ganders and Cybersecurity

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 9:27 PM

Readers will recall our earlier discussion of the House Intelligence Committee report that called two Chinese companies, Huawei and ZTE threats to American information security.  Well, it hasn’t taken long for a Chinese response — though an unofficial one.  As this article from Tech in Asia details, a recent publication of the magazine China Economy and Informatization offers the view that the gravest threat to Chinese information security is .. . naturally … an American, company — Cisco.  I particularly like the cover of the magazine which pictures Cisco as a snake:

Of course, as the Tech in Asia article makes clear, the article is more hype than reality.  The article:

quotes an anonymous information security expert as saying, “China is basically standing naked in front of the armed-to-the-teeth eight American King Kongs.”

But it turns out that’s pretty misleading. The article cites data from 2011, but CNCERT’s most recent information security report rates the threat to China as “moderate,” makes zero mention of Cisco, and does not suggest that the US or US companies pose any particularly grave threat as compared to other nations. CNCERT’s 2011 report — which, presumably, is the data set China Economy and Informatization was drawing from — is roughly the same.

But I suppose that, from the Chinese perspective, much the same could be said of the House Intelligence Committee report.  I don’t agree — but it seems that casting stones is now an international cyber sport.

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